Is your phone bill really high? Want to get out of the traditional phone company, and go to something worth while? Well, us at TrustedNerd.com have the solution for you, that solution is Ooma.
We have been drooling all over the Ooma news since CES 2010, and wanted to get our hands on one asap. It’s monthly pricing, low-cost hardware, made it all worth while. Ooma compared to Vonage, and other VoIP providers, at this kind of cost, is an absolute miracle.
Ooma Telo comes with several calling features, many at no charge. These no call features are caller ID, call waiting, and E911. Also included is a 60-day free trial of Ooma Premier, which is worth every penny. Ooma Premier is a bundle of calling features, such as forwarding voicemail, blacklists, three way conferencing, and much more. One thing, that I wish would be included in the standard version is the DND or Do Not Disturb, but Ooma needs to make its money somehow, and if you want this awesome feature, you have to get premier.
Ooma Telo is available at many retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart, it currently retails for $249.99. I suggest buying it directly from Ooma itself (ooma.com), as they offer many amazing promotions, such as a free Ooma Handset, or free number porting with purchase of premier.
Now, the Ooma Telo itself is amazing. Its light, starts up quickly, no issues regarding freezing, etc.. You are able to distribute the Ooma signal, to all your phone jacks in your house, but note, this requires cutting wires in your demarcation point, basically disconnecting yourself from the outside world (your old telephone company). If you don’t know what you are doing, then don’t do it, and hire a contractor. Worst thing you want to do, is cut the wrong wires, and have to pay more to get it fixed, then it would have cost in the first place.
Call quality, clarity, was amazing and clear, even when I was running simultaneous downloads on multiple computers. No issues with the Ooma Telo itself. Setup was quick and easy.
Whenever I test a service, I always review the customer support side of things. This is one aspect I was very displeased of. The customer support representatives were rude, didn’t know the product they are representing, and hold time was inappropriate. The issues were never resolved. What I was testing, was I added my own Google Voice number, to Google Voice extentions, or GVE. From there, I added it to my blacklist. However, what I couldn’t understand, is if the number is in the blacklist, why is it overriding the blacklist, and still ringing. Customer support wasn’t able to answer this, and their answer was, you cant block your own number, and they were giving me the attitude of, “what are you stupid.” Yes, a lot of customers won’t know what they are talking about. I wanted to see if they are going to help me, or just treat me like I’m stupid. Second issue was regarding caller ID, when I created my second line, I stated as my call ID name to be “meeeeee.” I had no idea, that this information couldn’t be changed. I requested customer support to change this for me weeks ago, they still haven’t done so. I would like that it shows, the name of the site on my second line, TrustedNerd.com. Their response, “we can only do first name, last name.” I know this is false, cause I was able to put in “meeee”, and it worked successfully.
Ooma Handset has a whole wack of bugs that I have discovered. The handsets like to freeze, often. I received a second handset, and I am seeing slight improvement, but the issues still occur. What I have found is when paging your Bluetooth device from your handset, when trying to disconnect, the Ooma Telo reboots itself. Also, many times after a call, I don’t get a dialtone, and I have to reboot the handset itself. When receiving contacts via Sync, your handset will freeze while it gets the new contacts and puts them into the Handset.
Bluetooth also had its share of issues. Quality is horrible; a lot of static was discovered when communicating via a Bluetooth headset. In our trials we used the BlueAnt Q1. You also cannot terminate a call from the Bluetooth device itself. In order to terminate a call while using the Bluetooth headset, you must go to a handset, press you call button, join line 1, and press the red button. Many of times, even this failed on the first attempt.
We also tested calling numbers from the Bluetooth headset itself, through voice commands. The Q1 is capable of calling Goog-411 by saying “call goog 411.” It worked several times, but it doesn’t work each time.
An annoying feature, is the low battery beeping. It’s high pitched, and can drive you crazy. It took me ages to figure out where that noise was coming from in the middle of the night. It would be beneficial to instead have a flashing RED led (where the voicemail notification led is), that indicates battery is low. As well, a possibility to disable that annoying audio notification.
The Ooma Mobile application for iPhone is interesting.. It has a really beautiful user interface, but, on my iPod Touch 2nd generation, I couldn’t at all, hear the party I’m calling. The ability to have this synchronize with your Ooma phonebook would be a killer feature.
Regarding support once again, I contacted Ooma support in regards to a billing issue calling a number in Canada, for less than a second. The mobile application “apparently” kept it open for 8 minutes, reducing my prepaid balance. I am not impressed with Ooma support, this is what I think can really shy away customers, when you start to offshore your support staff.
As an initial first-impression rating, I am going to give Ooma a 4.5 /5. It was a hard review, there were so many things to test, support needs a big boost in order to increase the rating to a 5/5. The handset needs its upgrades, the Bluetooth needs to be fixed, and the Ooma Mobile application needs to be re-tested on iPod devices.
A post review will be done in a few months. Keep tuned.